MLB 12 The Show: Working on its batting average

March 26, 2012

Last year, The Show proved once again that it was the best-available baseball game, but as with all sports games, the question must be asked once again: is there a good reason to get the new one? While not a huge leap forward, the adjustments made this year, coupled with the format and team changes in MLB, do make this a worthwhile baseball game.

Vita thoughts
The only Vita-specific features are the touch screen controls. Sony was smart enough to not make them required and to not use them at all for swinging or pitching, but they still feel like they exist simply as a bullet-point. I mean, yeah, you can touch the screen to choose what kind of pitch or what base to throw to, but why would you want to, when the button is right next to it anyway?

The Show continues its tradition of providing a large number of control schemes, so that you can choose which you prefer. All of them work well and accurately, whether you choose the basic button controls, all-analog stick controls or a combination of the two. Each aspect of the game can be customized separately, so if you prefer using analog sticks for fielding and baserunning but buttons for batting and pitching, that’s perfectly fine.

All the modes you would expect are back again, each with a shiny new coat of paint since the presentation has been reworked slightly to provide more information with fewer menus. They’ve also included quite a few of the more modern advanced statistics for players this time around, giving you a more in-depth view than ever into how a player is performing. And of course the new playoff system with two wild card teams is ready and waiting.

The ball physics has supposedly been reworked to use ‘real’ physics, which will supposedly lend itself to more variety in hits and fielding, but it’s hard to tell if there’s been any improvement. The Show already had plenty of variety, but more is always a good thing.

Thanks to PSN’s interconnectivity, the PS3 and Vita versions are able to share saved games via cloud saving if you happen to have both versions. You can only have one save file per game mode, but this allows you to take your franchise or career on the go or to the big screen, whichever you prefer.

Graphically, MLB 12 looks a bit more refined than last year. The players are very detailed and the major league stadiums look like exact replicas. The minor league stadiums have less focus put on them, but they are still very detailed and lively.

The commentary isn’t any better than in the past though, and it remains the one area in which the 2K series outshines The Show. The soundtrack is a bit more varied, though all that means is that now you’re guaranteed to have a song you can’t stand, no matter what style of music you prefer.

This year doesn’t have any major changes or upgrades, though it’s hard to improve on a product much once you reach such a close similarity to the game being simulated.

Pros: Cross-platform play is great, control schemes all work, still the best baseball game

Cons: Online play is still laggy, commentary hasn’t improved

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.